We all have experienced situations in which a person or a group of people have attacked us in some form or another. Maybe a coworker got jealous of your promotion and started badmouthing you behind your back. Or a neighbor got their feelings hurt because of something you did and next thing you know, it is all out war between the two of you but you really don’t know what happened to start all of it. Even worse, a family member seems to sabotage your marriage out of spite or simply because they don’t like you or your spouse.
No matter what caused it, now there is bad blood between you and this other person and things just start to spiral out of control from there.
Over the course of our lives we all find ourselves in some version or another of the above scenarios. It hurts, right? Especially if the person attacking you is somebody you really cared for and thought highly of.
It can get to the point when all you want to do is fight back and hurt them as much as they hurt you, but would that really solve the problem?
The answer is “no” and here is why:
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.
According to this, our problem is really not with the person attacking us but it is a spiritual battle that many of us are not aware of.
I’m not saying that people are never mean on their own, but we need to remember that more often than not there is a spiritual underlying cause.
Shortly after I got married, my mother-in-law and I had some serious issues with each other. We laugh about it now and thank God for restoring our relationship in a way we never dreamed possible but for several years it was all out war.
It had never been my intention to hurt her, but nevertheless it happened. That hurt turned into bitterness, resentment and outright hate and when she started attacking me I did little to stop my anger from festering, allowing it to turn into hate, which lead to me opening doors in my own life for the enemy to come right in and make himself comfortable.
My hate for her wouldn’t allow me to see the hurt I had caused. I simply shut her out of my life and the life of my family for years. No matter how many times we tried to fix things, without Jesus in our lives, we were unable to forgive each other.
Because I was too angry and too hurt, she missed out on her grandchildren for several years. When she went through the toughest times of her life, I not only abandoned her, but I also added to her pain because that’s what you do to somebody who hurt you, right? You hurt them right back. Or so I thought.
So who was I fighting? My mother-in-law or the devil?
In the natural it was her, who, in my tunnel vision, was constantly working against me, causing problems between me and my husband, and making me altogether miserable, but in reality, I was fighting the demonic forces behind the scenes so to speak, that seemed to be working overtime trying to destroy my family.
He wasn’t just trying to tear my marriage apart, but also put a wedge between my mother-in-law and myself, and instead of stopping him from doing that, I aided the devil in it.
Once I understood that, it obviously didn’t automatically just solve all our problems. Far from it to tell you the truth. But it did allow me to change the way I prayed about the situation.
It was by faith that I made the choice to forgive her and for a long time I had to pray through gritted teeth “and please, Lord, bless her”, and just be obedient because the Bible does tell us in Luke 6:28 to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you”.
So the real enemy is not the person who dislikes you, but the devil trying to use that person to get to you.
Why? Why does the enemy care so much about you that he wants to attack, hurt and sabotage you?
We all have a purpose here on earth to further the Kingdom of God. We are all supposed to share the Gospel but let’s be honest for a moment, when you are all caught up in your own misery, how likely are you to spread the Gospel?
How charitable do you feel when you constantly deal with financial setbacks and live from paycheck to paycheck?
Do you step out in faith when you feel God is calling you to minister to the nations, when you constantly have somebody telling you how worthless you are and that you will never amount to anything?
Do you see where I’m going with this? As long as we are distracted by our own issues, believing the devil’s lies about ourselves, and just staying in our own little bubbles, we won’t do what God has called us to do.
So Satan is as real as God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit and he will do whatever he can do derail you. The Good News however is, that Jesus defeated him on the Cross and no matter what Satan does, he cannot win the final battle.
The sooner you realize and understand that, the quicker you can start to stand up to him when he tries to mess with your life, your family, your marriage, your job, your health, your finances, and whatever else he tries to steal, kill and destroy (see John 10:10).
This is war, but we are fighting on the winning side.